On September 27th, some members of the community participated in a Community Workshop, organized to confirm the direction of the upcoming Comprehensive Plan Update and to collect input on key issues and opportunities identified by the Steering Committee.
To begin, residents were able to stop by the Community Center to speak to the project team and city staff about: the City’s current goals, issues and potential projects, and the Future Development Map changes.
See what some had to say about the goals currently in place:
Goal 1: Continue to define Norcross’ sense of place
Most participants agreed that this is still an important goal for Norcross.
One person stated that it’s important to encourage people that don’t live in Norcross to spend money on food and music there so that they might eventually choose to live there.
Goal 2: Continue to strengthen Norcross as a livable and safe environment
One participant said that this was still a priority, another thought that it wasn’t and that quality of life and safety “is high”
A couple of Needs & Opportunities were mentioned:
Attract private investment in housing for the millennial population was emphasized by a community member
Work on opportunity to age in place.
Evaluate stop signage and cross walk positions and signage.
Goal 3: Increase opportunities for travel via different modes within and outside of the community
Community members indicated that this is still an important goal for Norcross
Needs & Opportunities
Transportation via foot and bike were emphasized as key needs for addressing.
Provide additional public parking.
Need groceries in walking distance
Traffic & speed enforcement
Potential MARTA expansion
Goal 4: Maintain a vibrant economy and continue to facilitate job growth
Still an important goal
Very low sales across all businesses. We need customers, or the city will not grow.
Needs & Opportunities
Attract customers & businesses will come
We need customers, streets are dead during a week and most evenings. Weekends are not as busy as they should be. We detract customers because too frequent events that take away parking. Sundays are lost opportunities; no people on streets where in most towns its ~40% of weekend sales!
Goal 5: Further the City’s tradition of strong leadership and a high level of quality services
This goal is important to some, and not as important to others
Needs & Opportunities
Broad mix is key! We need to try something new here. Creativity is required.
Future Development Map
We also displayed the Steering Committee’s proposed changes to the Future Development Map for comments. Here’s what the participants pointed out:
Would like to see “City Entrance” businesses in the Atlantic/Peachtree Industrial Boulevard Character Area (1)
Breweries and or brew pubs in commercial areas of the Town Center (7)
(13) I-85 Activity Center should contain a Transit Oriented Development and be an economic generator
Those that could make it to the Workshop portion of the evening participated in a group discussion that focused sustainability, pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure, housing, historic town vs. bigger city, Buford Highway divide, young families, and technology. These are the questions we asked and some of the group’s responses:
Question 1, Sustainability: Which sustainability initiatives are the biggest priority for you?
Senior Citizen Opportunities
Housing – Single level in the mix (owned)
Walkability – especially RR crossings, stairs, ADA
Safe and sustainable at all levels
Middle class ($200-400k)
1 floor + 3 floors – duplex and more diverse architecture
Question 2, Pedestrian/Bicycle Infrastructure: Which pedestrian and greenway projects are priorities for you? What is missing?
Mid-block crossing along Buford Highway
Parking lot for parks (i.e. along Mitchell Rd because otherwise only residents that live there use them)
Amenities along greenways e.g. Ice cream shops and places to exercise.
Sidewalks (North and South Peachtree) & to access downtown
Need an accessibility audit
Maintain Cochran Troll Bridge (privately owned) and find more opportunities for similar paths.
Maintenance of lighted crossings and add hawk signals
Access Norcross Elementary over railroad
Norcross-Tucker streetscape. Sidewalk updated and widening.
Question 3, Housing: Are there needed housing types you find are missing in Norcross? What kind of residential development would you like to see permitted/encouraged?
Mix of people – build for difference
Down payment assistance for mid-income
City should communicate with developers on what the revolving market wants
Community based, not market based
Build for the people here
Tax breaks for civic occupations – individual and developer
Make it walkable especially to schools and across the railroad
Tiny homes? Artist village? Only if well done
But doesn’t replace the need for housing for families
Teachers, civil servants can’t afford
Single level homes with a yard (people rend single level apartments, what makes developers think that people don’t want to own their own single level living space?)
Cottage Courts (Like Mews)
$200 - $300k especially for teacher retention
Question 4, Historic Town vs. Bigger City: How would you like to see Norcross balance its charming small town feel while accommodating growth and development?
Refresh and build taller on Buford Hwy
Adding recreation with growth
Pinnacle Park – attract diverse businesses
“Multi-use Hall” – farmers market, coworking, pubs
Activate Downtown Norcross and tenant occupancy
Question 5, Buford Highway Divide: How can we improve physical and social connections across Buford Highway?
Active community engagement South of Buford Highway
Open House should be south of Buford Highway at one of the churches
City could use a Communications director
Question 6, Young Families: What can the City do to better attract and retain young families?
After school activities at the new library
Question 7, Technology: What emerging technologies should Norcross prepare for in its Comprehensive Plan?
City Wi-Fi – Geo-based push notification/fiber (like Chattanooga)
Autonomous vehicles and shuttles